Program Description

The MA program in Statistics provides advanced preparation in fundamental statistical theory and methods through a combination of traditional courses and electives in addition to modern topics in computation and data science. The program prepares students for positions in the fields of education or industry, or for future graduate study leading to a PhD. Students graduating with an MA in Statistics are expected to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of Probability Theory, Mathematical Statistics, and
    Stochastic Processes.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply linear and generalized linear models to data and
    interpret the results.
  • Demonstrate knowledge over a range of topics selected from probability theory,
    statistical methods, or computation.

Requirements for the MA Degree (Statistics Track)

Ordinarily, eight semester courses (32 credits) in our department are required for the MA degree, including five core courses and three electives. At most, two courses may be transferred from another institution, and these courses should correspond to those offered at Boston University.

Only courses at the 500-level or above count toward the MA degree (typically excluding those in the 600-699 range, which serve a different function). Courses numbered 500-599 are aimed at both advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students, while courses numbered above 700 are designed primarily for graduate students.

Core courses

  • CAS MA575 – Linear Models
  • CAS MA576 – Generalized Linear Models
  • CAS MA581 – Probability
  • CAS MA582 – Mathematical Statistics
  • CAS MA583 – Introduction Stochastic Processes

The qualifying examination requirement (see below) effectively necessitates that most students take this sequence of courses.


  • The remaining three courses should constitute a coherent program relevant to the objectives of the student. Ordinarily, all courses are in probability and statistics or mathematics.

Qualifying Examinations
All MA students in the statistics track must take the following two exams: the MA Theory exam and the MA Applied exam. These are offered every April. The MA Theory exam covers the material from MA581 (Probability), MA582 (Mathematical Statistics), and MA583 (Introduction to Stochastic Processes). There are two questions from each course. Students are required to answer four questions, including at least one question from each area. The MA. Applied exam covers the material from MA575 (Linear Models) and MA576 (Generalized Linear Models). There are two questions from each course. Students are required to answer three questions total. Copies of some old qualifying exams are available here.


Applications for admission to our Fall 2024 cohort are due on March 15, 2024. Please submit your application using the “Apply Now” link below.


Applications cannot be submitted after the deadline, so please be sure to submit all required materials early to ensure that your application will be reviewed. We expect to begin sending out admission decisions in mid-April.

If you’re interested in joining us for the Fall 2025 semester, applications will be made available online starting in September 2024.

The program does not have a set of official prerequisites, but the admission committee generally prefers that applicants have a strong background in calculus, linear algebra, probability, and, while not necessary but welcomed, courses in statistics such as mathematical statistical and linear models.

Prospective applicants are welcome to submit applications to both the MA and MSSP programs simultaneously, however, separate applications need to be submitted to both programs.

Financial Aid

Currently, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics does not have financial aid available for our MA programs.


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